When the Members (MEP) of the European Parliament (EP) write their laws, they use a tool called Automatic Tool for AMendments (AT4AM). AT4AM is fairly unknown outside of the EP, so it comes as no surprise that DFRI’s efforts in providing AT4AM for all is even less recognized. With this tool you can also create ready-for-voting amendments to email to the MEPs, and can in that way directly affect policy — without being a full time politician!
Despite AT4AM not being user friendly enough for everyone to create amendments, we’re working on getting there. If you or your organization can suggest improvements to the law, check out and at4am.eu as well as get involved in DFRI!
Data retention and the data retention directive didn’t become a huge success in the EU — 10 out of 28 member states have already nullified the effects of the directive in national legislation or didn’t implement it in the first place. See the full list and read more here!
Below you’ll find DFRI:s submission to the United Nations (UN) request for information in preparation for an upcoming report on the legal frameworks governing cryptography, anonymity and its relationship to human rights. This report will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June, 2015.
This letter is a response from DFRI (Föreningen för digitala fri- och rättigheter, a non-profit Swedish civil society organization working on digital rights), to your request for views with regards to encryption and how it relates to fundamental human rights. While strong
cryptography is a requirement for commercial activities, this is not what DFRI or this letter focuses on.
DFRI provides strong anonymous Internet access by being one of the largest Tor (an encrypted anonymization network) operators. This access is provided for two major reasons; to better protect the end users communication from mass surveillance and to help end users in totalitarian states to circumvent censorship.
The right to use cryptography and to be anonymous is a fundamental requirement for democracy, as freedom of speech cannot be guaranteed if there is a constant fear of repercussions. It is furthermore a requirement for the continued existences of investigative journalism due to the fact that whistleblowing often have weak legal protection.
DFRI spends a significant amount of resources to educate end users on how to encrypt their traffic. Our experience from this has taught us that end users encrypt and anonymize their traffic for many reasons. Here are but a few;
- Journalists use it to perform their jobs without revealing who their sources are
- Domestic abuse victims use it to hide from their aggressors
- People suffering from medical conditions use it to learn more of their ailments
- Members of the labor force use it in communications with their unions
- Law enforcement uses it to investigate suspected criminals
- DFRI also helps activists in other countries with the investigation of censorship technologies and their deployment. This would not be possible without strong encryption and anonymity, as activists sometimes take great personal risks in aiding with these investigations.
We would also like to add that being a provider of anonymous Internet services does not result in a large amount of abuse cases. Indeed, DFRI has a level of abuse that per Mbit/s is lower or comparable to non-anonymized Internet services.
On behalf of DFRI